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Smoky Sweet Potato and Black Bean Salad

The sweet potatoes in this salad partially break down and help hold the other ingredients together. They offer sweetness and along with the beans a soft toothsome texture, which is balanced by the crunchy, fresh red pepper and cucumber and the smoky essence in the spices added.
Course lunch, Salad

Ingredients

  • 2 cups cooked sweet potato cut in cubes (see note for baking tips)
  • 2 14 oz cans black beans rinsed and drained
  • ¾ cup red or yellow bell pepper diced
  • ½ cup cucumber diced (seeds removed) (or jicama, peel trimmed and diced)
  • 2 tbsp chives roughly chopped, or green portion of green onions, sliced
  • 2 tbsp flat-leaf parsley minced (cilantro can also be used)
  • 1 - 1 1/2 tsp fresh oregano minced
  • 4 - 5 tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice will need about 2-3 limes
  • 1 tsp sea salt little scant
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ tsp chipotle hot sauce I use Tabasco brand; can use another ½ tsp if you like it smokier/hotter
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • ¼ tsp allspice
  • 1/4 tsp smoked paprika
  • ¼ - 1/2 tsp pure maple syrup or agave nectar

Instructions

  1. To bake potatoes, place on a baking sheet lined with parchment.  Bake at 400 for 40-60 minutes (baking time will depend on whether you are using smaller or larger sweet potatoes). Check the potatoes a few times in the last 10-15 minutes of baking.  They can be baked until quite soft, which will give potatoes that meld into the salad (losing most of their structure). While baking and cooling sweet potatoes (see note), prepare other ingredients. Once sweet potatoes cool to just warm or cool, cut in cubes and add to a large bowl with remaining ingredients (starting with 4 – 4 ½ tbsp lime juice, I like to use close to the 5 tbsp myself). Toss through to combine well. Taste, and add additional lime juice if desired, and season to taste with additional salt, pepper, or chipotle hot sauce if desired. Salad is delicious at room temperature, but can be chilled for a picnic or to keep for lunches during the week.

Recipe Notes

Make It More-ish!:  This would be delicious as a layered dip with guacamole.  Distribute salad over the bottom of a shallow casserole dish. Make a simple guacamole, and dollop or smooth over top to distribute as evenly as possible. Scoop out portions to serve with tortilla or pita chips, or to wrap in lettuce leaves.

If This Apron Could Talk: If you want more of firm texture to the sweet potatoes, bake for less time, until just ‘al dente’ (cooked through, but with a slight give when pierced), which will help them hold more structure in the salad.  I like the sweet potatoes cooked until mostly soft since I like how they meld into the salad and help it ‘hold’ when serving/eating… but, it’s up to you for your salad!